Notes and Editorial Reviews
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Puccini’s Japanese tragedy Madama Butterfly is given a ravishing production by The Royal Opera. Its alluring imagery of Japan from the 19th-century European Imagination heightens the intense clash of East and West. When the American naval officer Pinkerton seduces the young ‘Butterfly’ Cio-Cio-San, he seems to promise every happiness – but his cruel abandonment leads to her tragic self-sacrifice. Antonio Pappano, Music Director of The Royal Opera and renowned for his interpretations of Puccini, conducts an
exceptionally fine cast with the Royal Opera Chorus and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Powerful performances show why Madama Butterfly remains one of the all-time operatic favourites. ‘‘Always at his best in Puccini, Antonio Pappano conducts with passionate sincerity.’’ (The Guardian 5 Stars) ‘‘An opera that ranks among the very greatest of the 20th century.’’ (The Daily Telegraph 4 Stars) ‘‘Ermonela Jaho is the best Cio-Cio-San London has seen in years’’ (Independent 4 Stars)
The Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho is one of the great singing actresses of our time. Hers is not a sumptuous soprano, but the colors she brings to her portrayal are astonishing. Her Flower Duet with Elizabeth DeShong's feisty, sympathetic Suzuki is quite beautifully sung. Pappano - arguably today's greatest Puccianian conductor - draws ardent playing from the orchestra, superbly detailed in its commentaries.
Pappano is particularly alert to Puccini borrowing traditional Japanese melodies; at times he makes you hear this score, as well as the drama on stage, as a tug of war between East and West. It’s Sharpless and Suzuki who steal the show – a consul with a tender conscience from Scott Hendricks and Elizabeth DeShong as a maid who could melt the stoniest of hearts.
– BBC Music Magazine Read less
Works on This Recording
Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini
Elizabeth Deshong (Mezzo Soprano),
Marcelo Puente (Tenor),
Carlo Bosi (Tenor),
Ermonela Jaho (Mezzo Soprano),
Scott Hendricks (Baritone),
Jeremy White (Bass)
Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Written: 1904; Italy
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